296. Transcript of a Telephone Conversation Between the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) and Secretary of Defense Laird1

[Beginning of new tape]

K:… felt that it was better to go this route than to go the other, though he is somewhat cautious about communicating this to Rabin now. I don’t think he fully realizes that, for the Israelis to move, they’ll have to mobilize some forces and that they will commit themselves once they mobilize forces. So that they have to get our word by 24 hours before they move.

L: Yeah, because it’s going to stir up a lot of stuff. I’ll tell you that, and because of the pressure from Egypt then on this thing and the pressure within country in Egypt and within country in Lebanon.

K: Well, look, Mel, the reason I’m calling you is even though the President has said this is his decision and that he wants to go, I think we all ought to be together on it.

L: Yeah, I think we should, too.

K: If anyone has serious reservations, I want to know them.

L: The only thing I wanted to give, Henry, was an update on that intelligence which we don’t have right now, but we should have that soon. We are trying to get messages back from DIA on that, and you haven’t gotten them yet either. I just want to know why the Jordanians haven’t committed their forces, and that’s the only outstanding question I have.

[Page 826]

K: Yeah.

L: That hasn’t been answered yet.

K: But even if they haven’t, it doesn’t change the facts, does it?

L: Well, it changes the facts inasmuch as it might be able to handle them in those pass areas up there where the Syrians are.

K: Well, have you seen the message from the King?2 He doesn’t seem to think so.

L: I’ve seen those. Yeah, he’s a young sort of a guy. He gets a little panicky. I understand those messages loud and clear. Let me check… Are you going to be right there for a minute? Let me call DIA and find out the latest that they have. Are you going to be in your office?

K: I’m at home actually, but I’ve been on the phone the whole time; so you can reach me through the board.

L: Okay; I’ll call you right back.3

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Box 30, Chronological Files. No classification marking. The time, “prob. about 6:30 am,” is handwritten. All brackets are in the original.
  2. See Document 284.
  3. Laird called Kissinger back at approximately 7 a.m. Laird reported that he was still trying to put the intelligence together, but that it was “spotty.” He promised to have the intelligence ready for the 8:30 a.m. NSC meeting (the meeting did not begin until 8:45 a.m.). (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Box 30, Chronological Files)